LONDON LIFE • February 2020
Stuck for what to do on Valentine’s Day? From foodie spots to outdoorsy adventures, Time Out London editor Isabelle Aron picks the best places for a date in the capital
Ditch stuffy restaurants with overpriced Valentine’s-themed menus and head to one of London’s brilliant food halls instead. At Seven Dials Market, run by street food faves Kerb, you’ll find ramen that pack a punch at Nanban, vegan tacos at Club Mexicana and massive salt beef sarnies at Monty’s Deli. Grab a table and spend the evening sharing dishes until you’re full. Alternatively, plonk yourself at the excellently named Pick and Cheese, which has an actual conveyor belt of cheese – if that isn't the perfect date, we don't know what is.
Watching Netflix on your sofa doesn’t exactly scream romance, but there is something romantic about cosying up to watch a film. If that’s the vibe you’re after, the Electric Cinemas in Notting Hill and White City have you covered. Book one of the luxe sofas for two or go all out and snap up one of the front row beds (yes, really) and be prepared to feel very comfy and very smug.
Channel your inner David Attenborough and go bird spotting at the Walthamstow Wetlands. The 211-hectare oasis is Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve and you’re likely to see geese, kestrels, herons and more. Even if you’re clueless when it comes to identifying birds (sorry, David), it’s a lovely spot to wander around. Make sure you stop at one of the wooden jetties which go out into the water – they’re an ideal spot to take a seat and soak it all in.
You don't have to splash out at a fancy restaurant to enjoy incredible views from one of London’s skyscrapers. The Walkie Talkie building’s Sky Garden is totally free to enter – just book a slot in advance, turn up and drink in the 360-degree views across the city. It’s not just the views that are pretty, either – the whole conservatory is filled with lush foliage and unusual plants – ideal for a romantic date that won’t put a dent in your bank balance.
Sometimes a pint at your local isn’t going to cut it. If you’re in the mood for some seriously special cocktails, you can’t do better than Lyaness, the brainchild of award-winning London bar superstar Ryan Chetiyawardana AKA Mr Lyan. Sip creative cocktails (Mario Kart Spritz, anyone?) or try the boozy afternoon tea which includes sandwiches, cakes and scones plus drinks pairings. The bar is at Sea Containers on the South Bank, so you can walk off the booze with a riverside stroll – if you need to.
Fancy something a bit different? Swing into action at crazy golf course Swingers West End. There are two courses – the helter skelter and the big wheel – where you can perfect your hole-in-one skills, or teach your date a thing or two. Fuel up on street food from brilliant vendors including pizza at Made of Dough, tacos from Breddos and burgers from Patty & Bun. Don’t miss the cocktails either, which may or may not improve your aim.